05.29.09

Klapisch On Death Valley East, Aka Citi Field

Posted in Baseball, Ugly New Stadiums at 5:26 pm by

While Tim Marchman has Baseball Think Factory abuzz with a not-entirely-serious headline of “They Should Trade Him For Mark De Rosa” (“Him” being newly promoted deer-in-the-headlights rookie OF Fernando Martinez), another writer considers the Mets’ poor power numbers and impact of Fred & Jeff’s homage to Ebbets Field Petco Park. “The stunning new ballpark is a shrine for pitchers,” observes the Bergen Record’s Bob Klapisch, “but a black hole for gap hitters who used to reach the fences at Shea Stadium.” Or to regurgitate a line I’ve repeated far too often, Citi was built with a particular team in mind. Sadly, that team was the 1982 St. Louis Cardinals.

OK, I said the ’85 Cards the first few times. But as Klapisch points out, the last club to win a World Series with fewer than 100 HR’s was St. Louis’ 82 squad.

No wonder David Wright and Carlos Beltran are glum, already resigned to Citi™s configuration that includes a 415-foot canyon in right-center (44 feet farther than at Shea) a 15-foot wall in left-center and an even more forbidding 16-foot barrier in dead center, 408 feet away from home plate.

The result is home runs that barely make it ” Gary Sheffield™s monstrous blast against the Nationals on Monday only landed in the first row ” and others that require video confirmation, like Sheffield™s on Tuesday and Daniel Murphy™s on Wednesday night.

Otherwise, an army of fly balls simply die short of the wall, which Wright called œfrustrating.

œThat™s something we™re going to have to live with and deal with, he added. œYou can get upset and you can get angry for a second, but hopefully it equals out where you get some bleeders to fall in because the outfield is so deep.

Beltran echoed the less-than-enthusiastic scouting report.

œThe fences are high, the ballpark is big, but we have to play here, he said. œThis is our home. We have to feel comfortable here.

Mets officials are aware of the grumbling, but say it™s too early to return a final verdict. œLet™s see how [Citi] plays over the summer when it gets hot, said one senior official. œRight now the sample size is too small.

The wall in left and center is actually two eight-foot pads, one of which can be replaced by a four or two-foot pad, creating a home run mark of just 12 or 10 feet. And if Jeff Wilpon and GM Omar Minaya decide the Mets™ offense is truly starving, the second pad can be removed altogether, shortening the wall to just eight feet.

With Brian Schnieder scheduled to come off the disabled list tomorrow, the Daily News’ Adam Rubin reports the Mets are frantically trying to trade Ramon Castro prior to Saturday’s 1:10pm game.

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